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Old 04-26-2010, 08:47 PM   #1
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Sick Dwarf Angelfish? Please Help.

Hello everyone. I have a 29 gallon reef tank, 40 pounds of live rock, Coralife Super Skimmer 125, AquaticLife T5 HO light fixture, heater (75-79 degrees), and one Vor-Tech MP10. I've had my tank for about three months. My tank was fully cycled 1 month ago, I added a few small coral frags and a cleaner crew. My levels are always good, as they are now:

PH - 8.3
Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 0
Specific Gravity - 1.026
Temp - 78 degrees

I have a dwarf fuzzy lion fish and a dwarf red striped angelfish (interesting pair for a reef tank, I know, but I couldn't resist.) I do not know if they are caught or tank raised. And I did not qt them. They seem to get along fine, I have only seen the lion nip at the angel once, but the angel got too close to the lion. I feed the angel live brine and algae strips both soaked in Zoecon. And plan to start the target feeding of frozen foods soon for both. Both were acclimated for 2.5-3 hours using drip method.

I had to get a new stand recently. I emptied about 75% of the water, and placed the heavy pieces of live rock in the bucket of tank water. My friend and I lifted the aquarium while my other friend switched out the old stand to the new stand. I replaced the live rock and the water except enough to do a 20% water change. I had stopped feeding for a few days prior to this event just in case. The process went fine, except I noticed from moving the rocks and what not, the sand was stirred up quite a bit, and I noticed diatoms I think. But my ammonia level is non-existent. Also my fire shrimp is gone, figured the lion got the most expensive meal of his life, and I got over it. I hadn't seen the shrimp for several days prior. Anyways, I tested the levels and everything was fine. I fed the angel bloodworms. Later I noticed he was breathing very fast, lips protruding and sucking for air or water, and rapid gill movement easily over 80 per minute. Then I noticed a reddish-orange string-like poop hanging. I thought nemotada? But read that these worms are usually white. The angel is usually hiding but sometimes comes out for a second. Maybe it ate the fire shrimp? I read they poop the same color as their diet, the shrimp seemed a little large for his size though. No signs of disease, no flashing. I use PurpleUp often, and a two part calcium for my corals. I don't know what to think now and would appreciate any advice you'd have to offer. Thank you.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:31 AM   #2
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I would put a fair amount of money on the fact that your lion fish ate the shrimp. Pretty sure that it'll make quick work out of any shrimp you put in there.

Sounds like you're thinking along the same line as I am... that the sand being disturbed caused a mini-cycle and you might have ammonia present. But with no ammonia, that either rules that out or means your test kit is bad. Is this a liquid test kit or strips?

You've definitely got a couple interesting tank mates for a reef tank. You mention that the angel got too close to the lion once, but in a 29g tank that's going to happen pretty much all the time. Both of them probably think the entire tank is theirs. Just my opinion, but I can't think that over the long term those two fish are going to work out their differences.

Sorry I can't offer any concrete "this-caused-that" advice regarding the angel. However, I would advise that you stop the PurpleUp. There's really no reason for it - if your calcium and alkalinity levels are in the correct range (380-420 for Ca, 8-12 dKH for alk) and you have a source of coralline algae in the tank already, it will spread all by itself. And if you aren't testing for calcium and alkalinity, I'd stop the 2-part also until you know you need it.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.
Ya, I figured the lion fish got a hold of it, figured I'd mention that though.
The ammonia levels are certainly at zero, and I do not know if the test kit is bad, I am using a liquid test kit. It usually reads pretty well, i've had an ammonia spike in the beginning, so it picked that up, and I took care of it.
And yes, the lion doesn't seem to have an issue with the angel, but like you said they might not get along, I guess time will tell.
I forgot to add my calcium and alk.
Calcium - 400
alk- 9.8

Thanks again for the response and I will stop the purpleup.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:49 AM   #4
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OK... good to know you're testing for calcium/alk. Many times folks start dosing without really knowing where they're at just because someone told them to. The reason I mention the PurpleUp is because it also has iodine in it which can easily be overdosed. It's easy to overdo it and overdose on the iodine causing some things to die, which then starts a nasty spiral downward. It's just better to keep your ca/alk levels in a reasonably healthy range and not try and speed up nature.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:50 PM   #5
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ya I figured if I am going to spend all this money, I might as well test for everything! haha.
But that is interesting about the iodine overdosing with using the purpleup. I had no idea it would cause an overdose that can turn so badly.

Someone had told me too that angelfish prefer a PH over somewhere to 6-7, and that could be my issue? Thats sounds a bit low, but do you know if that is true?
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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I think someone was confusing freshwater angelfish with saltwater angelfish. If you keep a saltwater tank at 6 or 7, nothing will be alive.
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